Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council VTC on UNAMA
17 December 2020
I thank Ms. Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary General, and Ambassador Dhani for their briefings. I commend UNAMA and the 1988 Committee for their work under your leadership. I also listened carefully to the statement by the Afghan youth representative. I welcome permanent representatives of Afghanistan and Iran to this meeting.
The Afghan peace and reconciliation process has now entered a period crucial to its future. China welcomes the first intra-Afghan negotiations launched in Doha on September 12 and congratulates both sides on reaching an agreement on the rules and procedures for negotiations a few days ago. The next stage of negotiation will feature substantive discussions with a higher level of difficulty. Both sides need to show more political wisdom and resolve. The international community needs to increase its attention and input.
History has proven time and again that the Afghan issue can only be resolved by political means. The use of force will only plunge the country deeper into war. We hope that the two sides will consolidate the positive momentum, remain constructive and perseverant in talks, striving for an outcome in favor of peace, and find an effective political solution at an early date.
In our view, Afghanistan’s future arrangements should be broadly representative and inclusive, so that all parties, ethnic groups, and religious sects in Afghanistan can participate on equal footing and share state power. The international community should fully respect the will of the Afghan people, and ensure the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiation process. No external forces should be allowed to impose their will or seek gains.
The 1988 Committee has played an important role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. China supports the committee’s continued performance of its duties as mandated by the Security Council, contributing to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. China supports renewal of its Monitoring Team’s mandate.
Violence in Afghanistan remains unrelenting. According to the SG’s report, the number of recorded violent incidents in October this year was the highest since 2007. The international community should continue to support the Afghan security forces in strengthening capacity building, combating terrorism, protecting civilians and improving the security situation. China calls on all parties in Afghanistan to respond positively to SG’s call for global ceasefire and stop the violence and hostilities without delay. Under the current security situation, the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan should be orderly and responsible, in order to avoid leaving a security vacuum to the detriment of the national interests of Afghanistan and regional countries.
Just now, the Afghan youth representative, in her remarks, denounced the various types of criminal acts committed by foreign troops in Afghanistan. This has reflected the will of the Afghan people and opinions of the Afghan public. All the criminal acts need to be thoroughly investigated. All perpetrators need to be brought to justice. The international community should do justice to the Afghan people.
Development holds the master key to solving all problems. Durable peace in Afghanistan won’t be possible without economic and social development. At the Geneva International Conference on Afghanistan held recently, President Ghani emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and connectivity to Afghan development. The international community should help Afghanistan implement its National Peace and Development Framework 2021- 2025, address a series of thorny issues, including poverty, refugees and drugs. Afghanistan should be supported in regional cooperation and connectivity, so as to unleash its geographical advantage, get rid of poverty, and achieve stability and prosperity at an early date.
China has been actively supporting Afghan economic and social development and helping Afghanistan deepen its connectivity, economic and trade cooperation with regional countries, under the Belt and Road Initiative. On December 9, China, Afghanistan, and the five Central Asian countries held a video conference at the deputy foreign minister level on trade and connectivity, building a new platform for regional cooperation which contributes to regional economic recovery, stability and prosperity. China appreciates the proposal by UNAMA to create a working group with the participation of diplomatic missions of six neighboring countries to Afghanistan to promote regional cooperation on connectivity. This is exactly what China is thinking. We look forward to concrete results from the working group and stand ready to work with relevant parties to contribute to socioeconomic development and improvement of people’s livelihood in Afghanistan.
Just now, the Afghan youth representative talked about the situation and aspirations of young people in Afghanistan. China attaches great importance to the unique role of youth in Afghanistan. We express our sympathies to the sufferings of the Afghan youth. We call for a greater role of Afghan youth in the peace and security and reconciliation process of Afghanistan, as well as in the economic and social development in the country. Over the years, China has been supporting the development of Afghan youth, helping them tackle health, education, employment and other issues. In recent years, with our help, a number of projects, including the Afghan national vocational and technical college, the comprehensive teaching building of Kabul University, have been launched. Since 2017, nearly 200 Afghan children with congenital heart disease, have received treatment in China and been provided with a complete set of post-operative rehabilitation examinations. This has been widely applauded across the Afghan society. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, China has provided several shipments of anti-pandemic supplies to Afghanistan, sent medical teams there, and will continue to provide more support and help, so that Afghan people, including its young people, can finally emerge from the shadows of the virus.
China will continue to support, mediate and facilitate the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, and is willing to provide a platform for intra-Afghan dialogue and remain closely engaged with all parties through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization-the Afghanistan Contact Group, and China-Afghanistan-Pakistan tripartite dialogue. We will continue to support UNAMA in playing an important role in Afghanistan and, alongside the international community, make greater contributions to peace, reconciliation, development and prosperity of Afghanistan.
Thank you, Mr. President.